Tuesday, January 29, 2019

with words at a loss

I suppose I might have looked it up in some etiquette book, but I didn't: My sister/half-sister told me a day or two back that a cousin's (Bea's) daughter had died on breast cancer. I wanted to send a consolation card. Was there/is there a format? I have only tenuous links to the family/lineage of my clan, but such a blow seemed to me overwhelming ... a child who predates her parents in death ... it's breath-taking; a whirlwind; a howling that has no syllables. What does anyone say to such an event to a person most intimately involved ... it's, it's, it's ... poof!

I sent Bea a brief email with the thought that an email might more easily be deleted, forgotten, disposed of. Sympathizers always struck me as a bit self-involved -- as if the bereaved should comfort the comforter -- and I don't want to play that role. Yes, my first thought was of Bea and what a nice person I thought she was and how such a loss might howl.

And then I thought of a poem my younger son wrote when he was in fourth- or fifth- or sixth- or whatever grade. It seemed somehow appropriate, though I'm not sure how:

The very big trees
Are in my backyard.
I visit them every day
So they won't get lonely.
They give me shade
And keep me dry from rain.
I can climb them
And get delicious fruit --
The most delicious fruit.                 -- Ives Fisher
The most delicious fruit.


And amen.

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